Box 1, Folder 14, Document 54

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Box 1, Folder 14, Document 54

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Atlanta, Georgia

August 15, 1909


Honorable Ivan Allen, dr.
Mayor, City of Atlanta
City Hall

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Dear Mayor Allen:

We have been dealing witi: Comunity Relations and have accepted some of their
suggestions relative to eliminating some problems. Various policies and facts
pertaining to this department are attacred.

Tt is in teresting ta note the following excerpt from the Report of the United
States Conaission on Civil Rigiits 1969, entitled For All the People...By All
the People which has just reached this office:

"Despite the belated adnission of firemen into the Atlanta departinent
and the elaborate procedures which surrounded their introduction, the
Atlanta Fire Department liad a larger proportion of Negroes in uniform
than any other central city in the survey and a higher degree of
integration than many."

We are in the orocess of re-writing the Rules and Regulations of the Atlanta Fire
Department to eliminate any inequities in the old Look, to eliminate any
possibility of discrimination or tne possibility of any officer over-reacting
with authority. As soon as this has been completed, it will be presented to tie
Board of Fire Masters for their approval and adoption.

We would like to stress tiat any fireman who has grievances, has three methods by
which to air them in tiis office: by completing a Form 52 (Special Request),

go through tie Company Officers and Battalion Chief, or by use of a Suggestion
Form available in all stations. Any justifiable grievances will ve straightened |

Yours very truly,

PO, Leh aay
. O. WILLIAMS, Chief
Atlanta Fire Denartnent

POW: 11a
tgs ag

ce: Mr. W. T. Knight, Chairman Board of Fire flasters
The Atlanta Fire Department's only interest is in the protection of lives and
property from fire. Tne citizens of Atlanta should have and deserve tne best
fire protection availabie. In order to accomplish this, we must nave tne best
trained, qualified, and exnerienced personnel in responsible positions
regardless of race, creed, or color.

Fire Department officership must have leadership. One cannot gain leadership
if standards have to be lowered so one can qualify. Subordinates will not look
upon such an officer as a leader. Life and property is at stake. Decisions
and actions of a fire officer are based on knowledge and experience of the job.
Therefore, standards and qualifications must be kept high. Rather than lower
the standards, they should be raised.

Promotions in the Fire Denartinent are made according to merit and fitness.

The promotional system of the Atlanta Fire Denartment is set by law.
Anyone meeting tne qualifying standards as set forth by the
Promotional Board will be promoted regardless of race, creed, or
color. We will not and do not discriminate for or against anyone
meeting the qualifying standards of this system.

Promotional examinations for Fire Lieutenants are held every two
years. To qualify, a man must have had five years service in the
Fire Department. After the examination, the applicants are listed
according to their scores from a combination of the written test,
training school average, and seniority points. This list is
divided into groups of 20. The first 20 men are rated at oral
interviews, and this score is added to their grades from the above
three items. Promotions from this list are made in order of the
applicant's final score.

So far, the first 7 men have been promoted from the Lieutenant's
examination held in March of 1969. The first black firemen started to
work in April 1963, so that this is the first year (1969) any of tiem
have been eligible to apply for promotion to Lieutenant. There were 153
applicants, of whom 6 were black. The first black applicant is in the
6th group of 20 or approximately position 102 on the list.

Promotions to Fire Apparatus Operator are made by appointment. The
Captain at each station makes tnese selections subject to the
approval of tne Battalion Chief.. The men must nave nad at least two
years service with the Fire Department and have passed the reauired
driving tests at the Training Sciiool. There are nine black firemen
in these positions.

Eligible lists for Firemen are established every week after the weekly
interviews. (During March, April, and July of this year, interviews
were held every two weeks.) As vacancies occur, the Fire Department
calls the men on a list in tne order of their scores. Each person on
the list of a certain date is contacted and offered employment before
moving to the next chronological list. Once a man is on the eligible
list, he is not by-passed unless tne Fire Department is unable to
contact him by telephone or letter.

Through July 25, of this year, 60 white men were put on the eligible
list and 57 black men. Of these, 45 white men have been employed and
41 black men.

Of the 867 men in the extinguishing division, over 19% or 165 are black.
Nine of these are Fire Apparatus Overators and 25 are on Military

Leave. Firemen tnat leave the department for military service are
reinstated wien they return (this is a Federal Law) and are usually
returned to the same station from which tiey left.


In January of 1959, a group of firemen leased a 5.7 acre tract of

land at Lake Allatoona from tne government and organized a club

which was called Atlanta Firemen's Recreation Club. However, the

Fire Department nor the City of Atlanta has any jurisdiction over the
activities of this clud. It is a private organization controlled by

a Board of Trustees composed of eleven men, woo adhere: to tie wisnes

of the majority of the members, and is supported entirely by dues paid
by the members and maintained througi volunteer services of tiie members.


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